Wed July 11, 2012 12:00am
JOHAN Bruyneel, the controversial figure behind nine Tour de France triumphs, says Cadel Evans will fight grimly all the way to Paris - before ultimately losing this year's race.
The Belgian predicts Evans will rebound strongly from his heavy time loss in stage nine's time trial from Arc-et-Senans to Besancon.
But while Bruyneel says Evans is not out of it - 1min,53secs behind Wiggins - he is up against it.
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The architect behind Lance Armstrong's seven successive Tour victories and two more with Alberto Contador, Bruyneel does not see any other rider troubling Wiggins or Evans for overall honours.
"As anticipated, it looks like it will be a Cadel versus Wiggins showdown for 'GC' (general classification)," he said.
"Both are looking very strong, however at this point in the race, Wiggins has the advantage.
"And I say that because of the time trial that lies ahead (stage 19) where I think Wiggins can gain or regain time on Cadel (if he loses the jersey in the mountains).
"If Wiggins rides like we expect, he should be able to gain enough time on Cadel where he can then focus on following Cadel's wheels in the mountains.
"Easier said than done of course, but Wiggins looks to be riding well uphill so far.
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"I will say that Cadel has the right mindset in looking for every opportunity to attack the yellow jersey.
"While Cadel is a solid TT rider, he knows where he stands compared to Wiggins in the race of truth.
"But let's remember - there's a lot of Tour left and nothing is ever certain in cycling."
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